I was flagged down and physically stopped by people wanting to check out the YXZ on the trail. Everyone wanted a peek at it. There was a dude on a Turbo Mav that wanted to drag race. So stupid - Most people were blown away it had a real clutch pedal! Pictures, videos, the YXZ was a huge attraction.
Well - I am glad to put some seat time into this machine before I made any conclusions. I spent about 10 hours trail riding at Hatfield. Hatfield riders will know this is the true definition of trail. Rocks, ruts, mud, hills, fast open road, everything! This was my test to see if I, ME really liked this machine. This is my first SXS, and have only ridden other machines. I have "a few" years of riding bikes and ATVs.
All I can really say is that it's a awesome machine. Its really really fun to drive. It's a TRUE driver's sport SXS.
Motor - I love this motor. Its torquey AND it has a screaming top end. I never got out of 4th today. I would get into about 8 thousand RPM and that was all was needed to hustle down the fast trails. The wife gave me a few strong pokes to let me know. This motor never really got bent out of shape. It's very responsive (more on that) and I like the gas pedal motion and general fuel mixing. There is a slight flat spot right off idle. If you nail the throttle if the motor is at a low rpm, it will sputter for a brief nano-second. The mid range is where all the meat is. Its overkill power for trails like this.
Transmission and Gearing - At first I thought 1st gear was maybe alittle tall. Now I think it's at the very edge when the trail gets technical. I mean technical by below 10 MPH crawling through ruts, rocks, and steep elevation. After lunch, my "driving" through the technical trails was dramatically improving. At first I struggled with the throttle and rpm to navigate the nasty stuff. It was a "herky jerky" terrible experience. Riding out of Indian Ridge, it was all rocks and rough trail. Really bumpy. I hated it! The machine wasn't happy and I wasn't happy. I finally got into the groove and things smooth out. At the end of the day today I was shifting, crawling, sliding around the trails. It was freaking fun as hell. The motor has such a good power curve that 2nd and 3rd became my good friends. The is such a great spread of power, that the shifting was not as frequent as people would worry about. Downhill engine braking was really nice to have on these hills - Bonus!
Suspension and Handling - This would be my only big gripe and it's a trade off. The ride is FIRM, Aggressive, PLANTED, Sporty, Harsh? It's really really a firm ride. No doubt about it. Slow speed is where it's the worst when the trail is rocky and bumpy. Like my big fat Outlander floats over the rough stuff, this is more like a sport quad ride. A POPO Polaris 1000 will squat when the throttle is nailed, the YXZ doesn't have that floaty feeling. HERE IS THE TRADE OFF - Its very nimble, and planted. It never ever felt out of control. Body roll is not really there. Hatfield guys - the Switch back corners and open twisty roads is where this machine will turn, and go. No wallow, or mush. If you want to INDUCE some oversteer, stab the throttle and it will slide. No cartwheeling, side wheeling at all. Hatfield guys - you know those bumps they put on the downhill parts to drain water? I call them jumps because on a ATV you can launch over them. The YXZ was fun to blast over those as you felt the front end move through the travel. The front end feels awesome. EXCELLENT ground clearance over the Hatfield rocks and ruts.
Steering - Was so good and effortless, I hardly noticed. A+
Comfort - Seats and overall cockpit were typical Yamaha awesome. The tach is badass!
I really like this thing. I'll say it again, it feels like a giant sport quad. Banging gears, spinning tires, sliding, - freaking awesome. The fast trails is where this machine really shines. It feels low and planted to the ground. Its my own rally car. I rode it all day at Hatfield. I did every blue and green trail I could find.
Dislikes - Low speed rough riding suspension action is very very firm. Again the trade off is the handling. It's planted and in control but you feel alot of the terrain below you.
This machine will do the technical crawling and wheeling. I have no doubts about that at all. This is a driver's machine and takes effort to get the results. If your riding is crawling slow, drinking beer, and chilling, this machine might annoy you. I think this makes sense. I can't wait to ride tomorrow!!